Lincoln Center's ever popular A Midsummer Night Swing series happens this year from June 24 - July 12 at Damrosch Park (right before LC's Out of Doors series begins). There's a range of events (and styles, not just swing), all of which include dance lessons. Highlights this year include salsa legend Willie Rosario, and an all-star band featuring Wayne Toups, Steve Riley & Wilson Savoy. For those in a '70s mood, there's The First Ladies of Disco featuring Martha Wash (The Weather Girls), Linda Clifford, and fomer Chic singers Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, and Norma Jean Wright, as well as a Loser's Lounge Tribute to ABBA which should be fun.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SWING - 2014 SCHEDULE
Tuesday, June 24
Cécile McLorin Salvant with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Classic Swing
No jazz singer performing today has captured the raves the way Cécile McLorin Salvant has. "She can hear, she can sing...her intonation is impeccable, her diction is impeccable. It's something special," says pianist Aaron Diehl, who worked with Salvant on her 2013 Grammy-nominated album, WomanChild. Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition, Salvant dazzled the judges with her expressive vocal communication, but she has never sung with a band for dancing - until now. Salvant asked that Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, New York's classic swing band, join her for her dance band debut. As Salvant herself has said, "I love watching people dancing to bands. You see the music come alive. As a musician playing for dancers, you try to push them and encourage them. It's collaboration."
Lesson: Lara Jeffers teaches Lindy Hop
DJs: Chazz Young (Frankie Manning's son) and Norma Miller (Frankie Manning's beloved friend and dance partner) Young and Miller were invited to participate to celebrate the spirit of "Lindy Hopper extraordinaire" Frankie Manning, who would have turned 100 years old this year.
Wednesday, June 25
Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca with special guest Jimmy Bosch Soukous, Semba, Kizomba, and Cuban Son
Ricardo Lemvo, a native of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) of Angolan ancestry, who was brought up on the rumba rhythms of Africa, moved to Los Angeles at age 15 and was there exposed to Cuban music. Based now in LA with his band, Makina Loca, Lemvo's blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms with pan-African styles (Congolese soukous, Angolan semba and kizomba, sung in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Lingala, and Kikongo) has been described by the Los Angeles Times as "seamless and infectious." His special guest on June 25, Jimmy Bosch, is a salsa dura bandleader and trombonist whose blazing, blaring notes have been featured with such Latin superstars as Rubén Blades, Marc Anthony, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, and Eddie Palmieri.
Lesson: Carlos König teaches Mambo
DJ: Andreas P.
Thursday, June 26
The Loser's Lounge: Dancing Queens: The Music of ABBA and More Disco
The Loser's Lounge is a collective of some of New York's best musicians and singers who perform the great songs of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. According to The New York Times, they "honor pop stars from these eras and validate the zeal of music fans." Started by session keyboardist Joe McGinty in 1993, The Loser's Lounge has performed nearly 300 shows honoring 50 different artists. On June 26th ― the kickoff of LGBT Pride Weekend, a community that recognizes this music as part of its cultural heritage ― they will take Sweden's gift to dance music, ABBA, and give its hits from the late 1970s - "Mamma Mia", "Waterloo", and the one and only, "Dancing Queen" - a new spin under the sparkle of the disco ball.
Lesson: Maria Torres teaches Hustle
DJ: Bill Coleman
Second DJ for Silent Disco: DJ Rimarkable
Silent Disco powered by Frisco at 10 pm
Friday, June 27
The Hot Sardines Hot Jazz, Swing
The Hot Sardines play music to "belly up to the bar to" from the Depression-era 1930s, but there is nothing depressing about their music. It includes stride piano, gypsy guitar, growling trombone, assorted horns, and terrific vocals, sometimes in French. Percussion includes washboard, drums, and a tap dancer. Their sound is straight-up, foot-stomping jazz, Paris via New Orleans and back again, with more than a nod to the music of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Django Reinhardt. Their popularity has grown enormously in recent years, with regular sold-out gigs at Joe's Pub and The Standard.
Lesson: Heather Flock teaches Lindy Hop DJ: DJ Miss Bliss
Saturday, June 28
The Band Courtbouillon featuring Wayne Toups, Steve Riley, and Wilson Savoy Cajun *New York Debut*
Courtbouillon is a rich Cajun stew - tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and catfish served over rice - and the band of the same name serves up music just as tasty. Made up of three giants of Cajun music ― veteran accordion player (and creator of the zydecajun sound) Wayne Toups, the Mamou Playboys' Steve Riley, and Pine Leaf Boys' Wilson Savoy ― The Band Courtbouillon was formed in 2011 to play the rollicking, good time dance music of southwestern Louisiana. Courtbouillon dispenses with drums and amplifiers and gets by with accordion, fiddle, guitar, and upright bass for their sound. Courtbouillon, a hit in both live shows and on Cajun radio throughout the South, won the Grammy for Best Regional Roots Album in 2013 and will make their New York debut on June 28th.
Lesson: Fredda Seidenbaum teaches Cajun Dance and Creole Waltz
DJ: Meredith Ochs
Monday, June 30 at 7:00 pm
FFREE SPECIAL EVENT ilm Screening: AKA Doc Pomus
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street
The unlikely rock 'n' roll icon and songwriter behind the smash hits including "Viva Las Vegas," "Save the Last Dance for Me," and "This Magic Moment" is profiled in depth in this documentary directed by Peter Miler. Director Miller and Doc Pomus' daughter, Sharyn Felder, will hold a post-movie conversation.
Shown in association with The Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Tuesday, July 1
Milly Quezada Merengue
With a musical career spanning four decades and boasting four Latin Grammys and several Billboard awards, Milly Quezada lights up the stage with her infectious Dominican merengue beat. After successfully fronting bands such as Milly, Jocelyn y Los Vecinos, Quezada started a solo career, creating hits including Solo Contigo and Quiero Ser. More than her irresistible, sonorous voice, Quezada is admired for choosing to empower women through her music in this classically male-dominated genre. It is because of her innovative lyrics and her lightning-quick, galloping rhythms that Milly Quezada earns the title of "La Reina del Merengue," or The Queen of Merengue. Note: One set at 8:00 pm.
Lesson: Rodney Lopez teaches Merengue
DJ: George Nenadich
Wednesday, July 2
Save the Last Dance For Me: Roomful of Blues Plays the Music of Doc Pomus Jump Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Rock 'n' Roll
Count Basie once called Roomful of Blues, "the hottest blues band I've ever heard," and in 2014 the accolades are still pouring in. Their sound is a horn-driven blend of swing, rock 'n' roll, jump, blues, and soul that makes for non-stop dancing. On July 2nd they will honor the man who got the band its first recording contract: songwriter Doc Pomus. Pomus, one of the best white blues singers of the 1940s, turned to songwriting in the 1950s and almost immediately, with partner Mort Shuman, began to crank out the hits: "Little Sister," "Lonely Avenue," and "Viva Las Vegas" among them. Pomus' biggest hit, and the song that remains one of the 25 most popular songs ever recorded, was "Save the Last Dance for Me," written by Pomus, who was in a wheelchair, for his wife on their wedding night, a story poignantly told in the recent documentary feature film AKA Doc Pomus. Pomus' songs have reached number one on every type of Billboard domestic and foreign chart and have reached the top forty in every decade since the 1950s.
Lesson: Paolo "Pasta" Lanna teaches Lindy Hop and Jitterbug
DJ: Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus
Special dance performance by American DanceWheels Foundation after the first set by Roomful of Blues.
Thursday, July 3
The First Ladies of Disco featuring Martha Wash, Linda Clifford, and Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, and Norma Jean Wright (formerly of Chic) Disco, Hustle
Note: Bobby Morales will play extended DJ sets with short performances by each singer.
Disco didn't die on that fateful day in July of 1979, when thousands of disco albums were detonated in Chicago's Comiskey Park between the games of a baseball double-header. It just went underground for a while. Some of its best practitioners, like Martha Wash and Linda Clifford, along with Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, and Norma Jean (formerly of Chic) have lived to perform another day, looking and sounding better than ever. Wash, who started out as half of Two Tons of Fun and later The Weather Girls, as well as the voice of C + C Music Factory, had huge international hits with "It's Raining Men" and ""Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)." Clifford is best known for "If My Friends Could See Me Now" and "Runaway Love," as well as her tender duets with the late Curtis Mayfield. The ladies from Chic, Nile Rodgers' seminal group, recorded the songs that set the bar for the entire disco era: "Everybody Dance," "Dance, Dance, Dance," and "Le Freak."
Lesson: Diane Nardone teaches Hustle
DJ: Bobby Morales
Second DJ for Silent Disco: Belinda Becker
Silent Disco by Frisco at 10 pm
Friday, July 4
Willie Rosario y Su Orquesta Salsa
Willie Rosario, known to his fans as "Mr. Afinque," fell in love with music on the fateful night that he saw the legendary Tito Puente playing the timbales at the Palladium, and since that moment he has followed his calling to mesmerize audiences with his musicianship. Based in his native Puerto Rico, the renowned composer, musician and bandleader has created some of the most recognizable and adored salsa classics, such as "La Cuesta de la Fama" and "Del Barrio Obrero a la Quince." Willie Rosario has tinkered, toyed and mastered genres from boogaloo to guaguanco to mambo, taking what he learned from masters like Tito Rodríguez and putting a new spin on these urgent beats. After more than fifty years of creating and performing salsa around the world, and launching the careers of such singers as Gilberto Santa Rosa and Tony Vega, Willie Rosario was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2002. July 4th marks one of his rare returns to perform in New York City.
Lesson: Jimmy Anton teaches Salsa
DJ: DJ Broadway
Saturday, July 5
James Langton's New York All-Star Big Band featuring Dan Levinson and Molly Ryan: CLARINET A LA KING! The Tribute to Benny Goodman Classic Swing
James Langton's New York All-Star Big Band is comprised of the cream of the crop of the city's jazz musicians who faithfully re-create the sounds of the Big Band Era, most notably the bands of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. Before he moved to the US in 2002, British-born Langton led the acclaimed Pasadena Roof Orchestra, a contemporary jazz-swing band. Langton has collected a massive library of original arrangements from big band greats and feels that his use of them sets his band's sound apart from the rest. Joining the band will be Dan Levinson, a specialist in jazz and swing whose expertise lies in performing the repertoire of the great clarinetist, Benny Goodman. Levinson has performed on more than 75 CDs, seven under his own name, and he is a member of Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. His wife is the jazz songbird Molly Ryan, also appearing on July 5th, of whom Will Friedwald of the Wall Street Journal says, "Brings a straight-ahead innocence and total believability to the music that refuses to admit that sixty or seventy years of distractions have ever happened. She sounds worldly wise beyond her years, wonderfully gentle and lyrical."
Lesson: Evita Arce and Michael Jagger teach Lindy Hop
DJ: Dawn Hampton
Tuesday, July 8
Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks: Boardwalk Empire, with special guests Margot B. and Stephen DeRosa Swing
Formed in 1976 and alumni of the inaugural Midsummer Night Swing season, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are a quintessentially New York big band, known internationally through performances, recordings, film soundtracks, and TV broadcasts. The band won a Grammy Award for its work on the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, and has performed in movies including Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club, Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, and the mini-series Grey Gardens and Mildred Pierce. Band founder Giordano is also "an invaluable historical resource" (The New York Times) of the music of the 1920s and 30s, and he has used that knowledge to inform the band's film and TV work. Joining the Nighthawks will be Margot B(ingham), the bold beauty on Boardwalk Empire who plays female torch singer Daughter Maitland. Another Boardwalk Empire stand-out, Stephen DeRosa, who plays 1920s singing star Eddie Cantor, will also perform on July 8.
Lesson: Roddy Caravella teaches Charleston
DJ: Odysseus Bailor
On July 8th there will be a vintage fashion contest for those wearing the best Boardwalk Empire-era vintage costumes. Dancers dressed in Prohibition-era finery will compete for prizes during intermission between sets.
Wednesday, July 9
Cojunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas **US Debut** Cuban Son
Since the 1940s in the heart of old Havana, the band Conjunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas has been weaving itself into the rich tapestry of Cuban son music, revitalizing the genre by being the first son band to include reed and brass instruments in its ensemble. Cuban son, widely considered to be the predecessor to popular Latin styles like salsa, is known for its combination of Spanish guitar and African percussion. Founded by the legendary Arsenio Rodríguez, and then passed down through three generations of the Chappottín family of musicians, the band's unique sound of sensuous horns and pattering drums makes it hard to stand still. In its present iteration, Conjunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas, led by Jesus Angel Chappottín Coto and Miguelito Cuni Jr., offers a version of son that stays true to its roots.
Lesson: Carlos Mateu teaches Son Montuno
DJ: DJ Babaloo
Thursday, July 10
Octavio Brunetti Tango Orchestra Tango
Grammy-winning pianist, arranger, and conductor Octavio Brunetti was born and raised in Argentina, where his love of the tango first took hold. He played piano with most of Argentina's important tango singers and musicians such as Alberto Castillo, Domingo Federico, and Rodolfo Mederos, before moving to the US in 2004. Here he formed his own tango orchestra - a rarity outside of Argentina - and began touring the world. The winner of New York's International Tango Competition for Best Solo Piano and Best Duo, Brunetti has recorded a number of albums including Soledad by Ástor Piazzolla with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's film, Teatro.
Lesson: Eva Carrozza teaches Tango
DJ: Maria José Sosa
Friday, July 11
After cultivating its distinct sound in the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, Casuarina uses its twelve years of experience to play its own repertoire of new samba and chorinho music. In addition to their own compositions, Casuarina creates original, sophisticated and virtuosic arrangements to an old repertory of classic sambas by legendary composers such as Paulinho da Viola, Dorival Caymmi, Martinho da Vila, Baden Powell, João Nogueira, and more. Casuarina has recorded three studio albums and two live albums and DVDs, including a Brazilian Music Award-winning MTV special. The five bandmates have been selected to perform at a variety of important events, from the Carnival in Rio to the Dia Nacional do Samba, celebrating the best of the genre on Brazil's National Samba Day.
Lesson: Marizete and Kilby teach Samba de Gafieira (Partner Samba)
DJ: Alex Carioca
Saturday, July 12 from 3:00 to 4:30pm
Ballroom, Salsa, Swing, Merengue
Kids get in on the act with a special afternoon session (ideal for the entire family) with teacher Rodney Lopez from Dancing Classrooms - seen in Mad Hot Ballroom, the 2005 documentary about teaching ballroom dance in NYC public schools. He'll get youngsters off on the right foot, teaching them the basics of ballroom, tango and swing. The mission of Dancing Classrooms is to cultivate essential life skills in children through the practice of social dance.
Saturday, July 12
Harlem Renaissance Orchestra with special guest James Carter: A Tribute to Illinois Jacquet Classic Swing, Jump Blues
Dancers will jump to the big band sound of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, a group that was formed more than twenty years ago to revive the great sounds from the big band era. The band recognizes the masters of the big band sound: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Midsummer Night Swing favorite, Illinois Jacquet, and plays their music as if it were yesterday. Band leader Ron Allen has taken the orchestra to perform at the JVC Jazz Festival, the Rainbow Room, the Copacabana, the legendary Apollo Theater, and a decade ago was selected by Jacquet's longtime companion, Carol Sherick, to carry on his legacy as the perennial closing night band for Midsummer Night Swing. Saxophonist James Carter adds to the night with his uniquely powerful sound. Known for his appearance playing Ben Webster in the Robert Altman film, Kansas City, Carter performs with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. The Detroit News has called Carter "the complete musician, a technician with no apparent limits and a poet of deep sensibility."
Lesson: Margaret Batiuchok teaches Lindy Hop
DJ: Ryan Swift
ALSO: On the 12th there will also be the 6th Annual Ambassador's Prize Dance Contest, honoring the late Frankie Manning, "Lindy Hopper extraordinaire."